How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Valley Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Valley AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Valley AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Valley AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Valley AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for some Valley AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Valley AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Valley AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Valley AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Valley AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Valley AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Valley AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Valley AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Right Valley Phlebotomist School
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Valley Alabama.